Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, as sentiment improved on a report that more progress has been made in talks between the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke via telephone with U.S. Trade Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

It comes after Mnuchin said on Thursday that a summit to secure a comprehensive trade agreement between President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would not happen at the end of March as previously discussed.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, rose 0.5 percent.

Back in Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing once more to try and win approval for her twice-rejected Brexit deal.

U.K. lawmakers voted on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the EU. It marked the end to a dramatic trilogy of events this week which have added yet more confusion into the whole Brexit process.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a second humiliating defeat as it was voted down by a majority of 149 votes. Then on Wednesday, U.K. lawmakers rejected the idea of leaving the bloc without a withdrawal agreement in place.

On the data front, investors are likely to closely monitor a final reading of annualized euro zone inflation rate data for February at around 10:00 a.m. London time.



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